Large number of LGBT groups rally in DC to urge the President and Congress to act on immigration

Several LGBT groups converged on Washington DC on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 for a press conference and day of action to urge executive and legislative action on immigration reform. This comes in the wake of President Obama's announcement that he is not ready to sign an executive order on immigration.

Advocates were hoping the president would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the family members of the undocumented young people the program gave some relief to in 2012. Advocates not only called out the administration but Congress for the continued inaction on the issue.

Inaction hurts the approximately 267,000 undocumented immigrants and their families that struggle under the current system. Fear of deportation, detention, and many barriers to well-being impact not just the undocumented person but their whole family and community.

Many call deportation a "death sentence" because immigrants like Oliver, from Nigeria and Jose, from El Salvador who spoke at the rally, face persecution and violence if they are returned back to their countries.

Rally participants wore red shirts that read "Immigration is an LGBTQ Issue" to remind the larger community that the repeal of DOMA did not mean an end to the plight of all LGBT people, especially those who are single, are undocumented or are in relationships with other undocumented people. The shirts also speak to the ways that policies can impact people who are not just LGBT but also immigrant.

Even those young people who qualified for DACA, face barriers, because it is not a permanent solution and also because the program does nothing for family members who do not qualify. For many LGBT people impacted by the lack of immigration relief and reform regardless of their own status, the continued uncertainty causes psychological, social and financial harm. Every day that Congress and President wait to take action that harm increases.

Advocates say they will continue planning actions directed at Congress members such as Representative Bob Goddlatte and Speaker John Boehner who are obstructing reform. They hope that the community will join them in urging the President and Congress to act on immigration for the good of all.